Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 May 2017

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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 11 May 2017


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Labour meet to focus on social security

 

The Standing Labour Committee will shortly meet to decide the agenda of the ILC, also known as the ‘labour parliament’ of the country. Providing social security cover for the entire workforce may be the central theme of the upcoming 47th Indian Labour Conference (ILC).

 

Background:

The Labour Ministry had earlier this year proposed a law on social security which will provide social security cover to the entire workforce in the country, including self-employed and agricultural workers. Factories employing even a single worker will have to contribute towards social security benefits, as per the proposed social security code.   

 

What you need to know about ILC?

The ILC is the apex level tripartite forum in the Labour Ministry which includes representatives from trade unions, employers and state governments.

  • It advises the Government on the issues concerning working class of the country.
  • As recommended by the National Labour Conference held in September 17-18, 1982, only Trade Union Organisations, which have, a membership of more than five lakhs spread over four States and four industries are given representation in the ILC.
  • All the 12 Central Trade Union Organisations, Central Organisations of employers, all State Governments and Union Territories and Central Ministries/Departments concerned with the agenda items, are the members of the ILC.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

 

Rail regulator to define performance standards

 

As per a resolution approved recently by the Railways Board, India’s first rail regulator, Rail Development Authority (RDA), would not just look at tariff structures for passenger and freight operations but also set standards of performance and efficiency that would be enforceable under the Railways Act.

 

rda

Key facts:

  • The resolution authorises RDA to define standards of performance and efficiency; such standards would be notified as rules under the Railway Act to give a binding force upon acceptance. It will also be “authorised to check for deviations and suggest remedial measures.”
  • The regulator will also provide guidance on quantity and quality of service provided to passengers. These may include setting standards including hours of service, frequency of trains, capacity per coach, cleanliness level, and quality of water, food, furnishing and linen.
  • The regulator will, however, not involve itself in policy making of the Indian Railways, operations and maintenance of the rail system, financial management, setting technical standards and compliance of safety standards. The regulator would only make recommendations on tariff and not impose a tariff on the Indian Railways.

 

Background:

The Union Cabinet had last month approved setting up the rail regulator responsible for recommending passenger fares, setting performance standards for rail operations and creating a level playing policy for private sector participation. The RDA will be an independent body with separate budget. The independence is ensured through separate budget, appointment and removal process.

 

Composition of RDA:

The Authority will have a Chairman and three members with a fixed term of five years and will be allowed to engage experts from various fields.

The Chairman and members of the Authority will be appointed by a Search and Selection Committee headed by the Cabinet Secretary with members including the Railway Board Chairman, Department of Personnel and Training Secretary and Chairman of any regulatory body of the Central Government nominated by the Cabinet Secretary.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

Centre mulls financial assistance to fisherfolk

 

With about four million people — mainly small-scale and artisanal fishers — in India depending on marine fisheries resources for livelihood, the Centre plans to provide them financial assistance and introduce norms to improve labour conditions in the sector.

  • However, it will ensure that the Indian fishing fleet does not engage in ‘Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated’ (IUU) fishing, according to the National Policy on Marine Fisheries, 2017.

iuu fishing

 

Need for financial assistance:

The Indian marine fisheries account for an economic wealth of about Rs. 65,000 crore, according to the policy — meant to guide the coordination and management of India’s marine fisheries during the next 10 years.

  • However, fishermen are having difficulties in availing institutional credit to buy fishing implements and crafts, and that the risky nature of returns has led to many fishermen falling into the debt trap of private financiers and middlemen.
  • Therefore, the Centre, with the help of National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development, will provide financial assistance to fishermen with liberal terms and conditions.

 

What is IUU fishing?

“IUU” stands for illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. IUU fishing includes all fishing that breaks fisheries laws or occurs outside the reach of fisheries laws and regulations. An important part of IUU fishing is illegal fishing, which usually refers to fishing without a license, fishing in a closed area, fishing with prohibited gear, fishing over a quota, or the fishing of prohibited species.

  • Most of the world’s fish is caught in the national waters of coastal States. Illegal fishing in such areas can range from a licensed vessel fishing more than its allowed catch to a vessel coming into the zone with no fishing license at all, or even a vessel crew not reporting or underreporting their catch—even if the vessel is licensed to catch that species.
  • A lot of unregulated fishing occurs on the high seas. The high seas are international waters beyond the exclusive economic zone, which extends 200 nautical miles from the shoreline, of a coastal state. Patchy regulation, little enforcement, and the vast expanse of the ocean—the high seas cover almost 45 percent of our planet—combine to allow rampant illegal and unregulated fishing in those areas.
  • Even when unregulated fishing on the high seas does not break any national law, it can have a significant harmful impact on marine life in the world’s oceans. So, the international community needs to develop and implement policy solutions that both forbid and eradicate these activities.

 

What are the impacts of illegal fishing?

Illegal fishing adversely affects legitimate commercial fishers as well as fish populations. Illegal fishers avoid overhead costs, such as licensing fees. They fish without the constraints accepted by legal fishers, often falsify documentation, and effectively “launder” their ill-gotten catch. Illegal fishers’ actions constitute a clear case of unfair competition since they operate without the costs of doing business legally or the strictures of following established policies and laws.

  • Also, because illegal fishers do not report catch, their fishing activities affect the accuracy of official fish catch and stock estimates. This adversely affects how fisheries are managed because regulatory bodies use reported catches and stock estimates to set catch limits and otherwise manage fish populations. Thus, because the real volume of fish caught is unknown, it is very difficult to effectively manage fisheries where illegal fishing is taking place.
  • Finally, illegal fishing often causes grave environmental damage, especially when vessels use prohibited gear, such as driftnets, that catches nontarget species (including sharks, turtles or dolphins) or physically damages or destroys reefs, seamounts, and other vulnerable marine ecosystems.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Multidrug-resistant TB will rise in India, says new study

 

According to a study, Multidrug Resistant-Tuberculosis (MDR-TB), a version of the disease where patients do not respond to first-line drugs, will become more common than it is now.

  • The report projects that, by 2040, the percentage of MDR-TB will make up 32.5% of all TB cases in Russia, 12.4% of the TB cases in India, 8.9% of the TB cases in the Philippines, and 5.7% of all TB cases in South Africa.

mdr-tb

 

What’s the concern?

The findings are alarming as India is home to the most serious ‘hotspots’ of MDR-TB transmission, especially overcrowded cities such as Mumbai. Not only does India shoulder the highest TB burden in the world, with over 2 million of the 10 million reported cases, it also accounts for the most drug-resistant patients — nearly 1.3 lakh people who do not respond to first-line drugs.

  • Besides, access to medicines is also worrying. Two new TB drugs, Bedaquiline and Delamanid are being used in Europe and the U.S. for several years. But they are yet to be made available in India’s national healthcare system. The drug is available only in six sites across the country, and according to the Health Ministry’s TB report, only 207 of the 79,000 patients who need the drug have access to it.
  • It is estimated that each year there are 10.4 million new cases of TB, leading to 1.8 million deaths globally. Nearly 40% of all drug-resistant cases occur in Russia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa – accounting for more than 230,000 cases of drug-resistant disease in 2015.

 

What are MDR-TB & MDR/RR-TB?

MDR-TB is an abbreviation of Multi Drug Resistant TB and it is a specific type of drug resistant TB infection. It means that the TB bacteria that a person is infected with, are resistant to at least two of the most important TB drugs, isoniazid (INH) and rifampicin (RMP). If bacteria are resistant to certain TB drugs this means that the drugs won’t work. Other drugs then need to be taken by the person if they are to be cured.

 

There are multiple forms of Drug Resistant Tuberculosis that includes:

  • Multi Drug Resistant Tb or MDR-TB shows resistance to the most effective anti-TB used drugs: Isoniazid and Rifampicin.
  • Extensively-Drug Resistant Tb or XDR-TB is a more severe form of MDR-TB which is additionally resistant to the 2nd line drugs that includes atleast one of the 3 injectable anti-TB drug
  • Extremely drug resistant TB or XXDR-TB shows resistance to all the 12 drugs making it virtually untreatable.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Paper 2 Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

 

Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System

 

Supreme Court’s Integrated Case Management Information System (ICMIS) was recently launched by the PM.

 

Integrated-Case-Management-Information-System

What you need to know about ICMIS?

The Integrated Case Management Information System or ICMIS is described as the next generation hybrid database which is used to better enable litigants to access and retrieve information online.

  • The new system, aimed at serving as a digital repository for case-related information, can be accessed at sci.gov.in.
  • Its functions include the option of e-filing cases, checking listing dates, case status, online service of notice/summons, office reports and overall tracking of progress of a case filed with the apex court registry.
  • It is also proposed that it will operate as an online gateway for payment of court fee and process fee. Other features offered under the new system include an online court fee calculator. This is expected to streamline the filing process for both the advocates and the registry.
  • All records of a particular case—at various stages—at the district court or high court will be integrated with the system to offer the complete record in digital form. In the future, linking of information on jail inmates and under-trials may be integrated into the system.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

In news- Albino orangutan:

  • The public are being asked to name a rare albino orangutan rescued in the Indonesian part of Borneo island, with conservationists saying she has become an “ambassador” for the threatened species.
  • The Bornean orangutan, which along with the Sumatran orangutan are Asia’s only great apes, is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as “critically endangered”.
  • Around 100,000 are estimated to live on Borneo, which is divided between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, down from 288,500 in 1973. Their numbers are expected to shrink to 47,000 by 2025, according to the IUCN.
  • Their habitat has shrunk dramatically as the island’s rain forests are increasingly turned into oil palm, rubber or paper plantations, and they are sometimes targeted by villagers who view them as pests.